When Tracy Norton, a chef from City Lodge Hotel Victoria & Alfred Waterfront created a recipe for the Global Pizza Challenge 2023, she took a risk including elements of a dish she grew up with but wasn’t a fan of – bobotie. Much to her delight, her Cape Malay inspired bobotie pizza went on to win the competition and was declared a resounding success by the judges. What stood out were the blend of authentic local flavours, delicious taste and easy adaptability to produce at scale making it commercially viable.
This year’s exciting Global Pizza Challenge took place during the equally vibrant Hotel & Hospitality Show at Sandton Convention Centre from 18-20 May 2023. The stand was a hive of activity as contestants competed throughout the event, observed by judges and cheered on by visitors, who got to sample the hot, cheesy delights coming out of the pizza ovens.
All the winners:
– Overall Winner: Tracy Norton, chef at City Lodge Hotel V&A Waterfront for her Bobotie Pizza (Prize R10,000 sponsored by GPC and winner’s trophy)
– Best Vegan / Vegetarian Pizza: Azhar Mohamed from Johannesburg for his Apple of Eden Pizza (Prize R3,000 sponsored by Stricke-ly Gluten Free)
– Best Use of Soweto Hot Sauce: Jaco van den Berg, student at Capsicum School, for his Cherry and Blue Cheese Deluxe Pizza (Prize R5,000 sponsored by Soweto Hot Sauce)
– Most Inspiring Chef: Luayys Alvarado, 8-year-old son of Chef Zana Alvarado for his Raspberry S’mores Dessert Pizza
City Lodge Hotels co-sponsored the event for the first time this year, offering fun giveaways and running a selfie competition during the show. Pizza is a popular dish on the menus of all four of the group’s hotel brands – Courtyard Hotels, City Lodge Hotels, Town Lodges and Road Lodges – and across its network of 59 hotels in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. The winning pizza will be added to the menu in due course, giving guests the chance to taste the delicious bobotie pizza for themselves.
Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, chief operating officer at City Lodge Hotel Group, explains: “We are delighted with the outcome of our first venture into sponsoring a culinary competition! We chose the Global Pizza Challenge because it is open to all, as are our hotels, and pizza is a feel-good food enjoyed by all. The top three selling items on our menus currently are burgers, pizzas, and shisa nyama and other grills, so pizza is also one of our guests’ preferred meals choices.
We also used this event as an opportunity to showcase the growth in food and beverage offerings at our hotels and to expose our kitchen teams to the exciting world of cooking competitions. By inspiring and motivating our staff to enter and attend events such as these, we spread the learning from such exposure as they go back to their kitchens and share their enthusiasm with their co-workers.”
Other sponsors of the Global Pizza Challenge 2023 included: Chef MLK School of Cooking, Complete Restaurant Solutions, DMG Events and Kaoun International, FoodServ Solutions, Grupo Nutresa, ItalDeli, MJ Event Gear, Rich’s Africa, Sir Fruit, Soweto Hot Sauce, Stricke-ly Gluten Free, TORK, Unilever Food Solutions, and the Visual Feast Group.